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UK no-confidence vote: How does it work? | Euronews Answers

UK no-confidence vote: How does it work? | Euronews Answers
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Cristina Abellan MatamorosRafael Cereda with Reuters, EFE
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British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a no-confidence vote on Wednesday evening, which could see her ousted from the prime minister. But how does the no-confidence vote work?


British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a vote of confidence in her leadership on Wednesday evening, which could oust her from the prime minister seat.

In a statement outside Downing Street, May said she would "contest that vote with everything I've got."

How is a no-confidence vote triggered?

In order for a Conservative Party leadership challenge to happen, 15% of the party's MPs must write a letter to the "1922 Committee" calling for a vote. As the Conservative Party currently has 315 MPs, the no-confidence vote was triggered after 48 MPs wrote letters calling for a leadership ballot.


Why is her own party against her?

Some Conservative MPs question her management of the Brexit deal and believe she's delivered a weaker deal than was promised in the 2016 referendum.

Many Brexiteers argue that May's deal leaves the UK too closely tied to the EU. However, May insists the deal delivers on the referendum promises and that the only alternative is a no deal or no Brexit at all.

But the more controversial issue is that of the “backstop” mechanism, which guarantees an open frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It ensures no physical border infrastructure between these two regions — avoiding the threat to a 1998 peace accord, which put an end to decades of political violence. This agreement is seen as an insurance policy if future trade talks don't result in a free trade agreement.

How many votes are necessary for Theresa May to lose?

For May to lose the no-confidence vote, a simple majority of Conservative MPs would have to vote against her, that’s more than half of the 315 MPs.

If she survives the vote, then May cannot be challenged for at least another year.

By 1:55 pm, CET at least 153 of the 315 Conservative MPs had expressed public support for her, according to Reuters.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted their support for May. Hunt and Javid both said she was "the best person" to ensure the UK leaves the EU by March 29.

However, May would still need cross-party support to pass the Brexit deal through parliament.

What happens if she loses?

If she loses, she’ll have to resign and a leadership election will be organised.

Several candidates would then come forward and a secret ballot would be held within the party. The candidate that secures the least amount of votes would be eliminated. This same process is repeated until two candidates remain standing.

A vote to determine the winner is then opened to the wider Conservative Party membership.

May warned that if she was ousted, Brexit would be delayed or even stopped.

"A change of leadership in the Conservative Party now would put our country's future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it," she said. "Weeks spent tearing ourselves apart will only create more division just as we should be standing together to serve our country."

In the case that there had to be a vote for a new prime minister, May would stay as caretaker prime minister until a Conservative leader is voted in.

Who would replace her?

Among those believed to be able to take over May are ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.


What is the "1922 Committee"?

The 1922 Committee is a committee of backbench Conservative MPs that meets weekly. Its chair is elected by committee members.

What are the odds May survives the vote?

According to Paddy Power betting house, May does have some chances at surviving though many experts believe that a big number of votes against her could weaken her.

The BBC reported that 158 Conservative MPs publicly said they will vote for her.

When will the vote take place?

A secret ballot will take place from 7 pm CET to 9 pm CET and an announcement is expected soon after.

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